James G. Carter (1795–1849) - American EducationEducational reformer, teacher, journalist and legislator who spearheaded the establishment of public schools and teacher training colleges in Massachusetts. After graduating from Harvard in 1820, Carter spent 10 years teaching at private schools, where he developed the inductive method of teaching, whereby students learn by induction instead of rote memorization. He also wrote several textbooks. Carter gained statewide attention and influence with a series of pamphlets he published detailing the decline in common school education in Massachusetts. In 1826, his Essays upon Popular Education warned that education would become extinct if the state legislature continued to “shift the responsibility upon the towns, and the towns upon the districts, and the districts upon individuals. . . .”
Elected to the state House of Representatives and named chairman of its Committee on Education, he called for the state to take control of education and establish public teacher training institutes. In 1836 and 1837, he proposed and won passage of laws creating a state board of education headed by a superintendent of schools. Unfortunately, the law gave the board little authority and few funds. But Governor Edward Everett, himself a staunch supporter of public education, appointed such influential men as Harvard president JARED SPARKS and leading industrialists to the board, along with Carter, and he named the popular and powerful state senator HORACE MANN to head it.